Saturday, July 24, 2010

Of Veil and the new Message

"In public gardens and in other places in this new town (which used to be old colonial town) can be seen young village Malays dressed as Arabs, with turbans and gowns. The Arab dress - so far from Pakistan, so far from Arabia - is their political badge. In the university there are girls who do not only wear the veil, but in the heat also wear gloves and socks. Different groups wear different colors. The veil is more than the veil; it is a mask of aggression. Not like the matted locks of RasTafarian in Jamaica, a man dulled by a marginal life that has endured for generations; not like the gear of the middle class hippie, who wishes only to drop out; these are the clothes of uprooted village people who wish to pull down what is not theirs and then take over. Because an unacknowldged part of the fantasy is that the world goes on, runs itself, has only to be inherited. "


"The West is eating itself up with its materialism and greed. The true believer, with his thoughts on the afterlife, lves for higher ideals. For a nonbeliever, life is a round of pleasure. "He spends the major part of his wealth on ostentatious living and demostrates his pomp and show by wearing of silk and brocade using vessels of gold and silver."

The new islam comes , and to the new men of the (Malay) village it comes as an alternative kind of learning and truth, full of scholarly apparatus. It is passion without constructive programme. The materialist world is to be pulled down first, the Islamic state will come later - as in Iran, as in Pakistan.

And the message that starts in Pakistan doesn't stop in Malaysia. It travels to Indonesia-120 million to 12 million, poorer, heterogeneous, more fragile, with a recent history of pogroms and mass killings. There the new Islamic movement among the young is seen by its enemies as nihilism; they call it "the Malayasian disease". So the Islamic passion of Pakistan, with its own special roots, converts and converts again, feeding other distresses. And the promise of political calamity spreads as good news."

- V.S. Naipaul (Among the Believers - Conversations in Malaysia)

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